Nikki's Blog

helping teachers teach math

Examples of Differentiated Tasks: A Way to Meet the Needs of a Range of Abilities in One Class

What is a differentiated task? A differentiated task is a question or activity that allows for multiple entry points as well as multiple ways to solve. One of the purposes of using differentiated tasks is to meet the needs of the varying ability levels of students that we often find in a...


A Math Class Make-Over: A Current Approach to Math Education

The changes in the math curriculum might seem small but they represent a very large philosophical shift. The traditional approach to teaching math has been to focus on procedures. We taught students how to do the math but there wasn’t a big focus on when we would use the math or why the...


Dealing with Obstacles (Follow up to ‘Dividing Large Numbers’)

I had some great responses from the blog post – Dividing Large Numbers and teachers had some really good questions about dealing with obstacles. So here are some questions and suggestions: Question: What do I say to a student who knows how to do the long division algorithm already? My...


Large Number Division- A Classroom Story

The other day I walked into a grade 6 classroom with my big bin of base 10 blocks and there was a buzz of excitement. Students, who are now accustomed to the style of lessons I generally teach, immediately start clearing their desktops to get ready for their blocks. One girl exclaimed “I love...


Different Levels of Students in Your Class? How Math Manipulatives Can Help You Reach Them All

Most of us struggle with the wide ability ranges in our classes and are scrambling to find worksheets and textbooks for all of the varying levels of students, which quickly turns into a logistical nightmare! Many teachers think that manipulatives are used for remedial students, or those...


Why Is It So Important To Use Manipulatives In Math Classes?

Brain research indicates that the brain learns first at a concrete level (hands-on manipulatives), then at a pictorial level and finally at an abstract level (Souza, 2008). Furthermore, we also know the more senses that are involved in learning, the more powerful the learning...